Interesting how an article by Julia Latynina pretty much matched what I think about the pirate problem. And what I think about it isn’t very nice.
Somali Pirates should not be protected by our humanitarian laws any more than sailors on those ships they attack. Because right now everything boils down to two problems:
1. Commercial vessels can’t be armed, because countries have armed naval forces for fighting
2. As soon as pirates grab hostages, armed naval forces can’t attack commercial vessels, as during the attack hostages may be harmed.
Um… sorry guys, but this just doesn’t seem to be working. And pirates are multiplying — low risk, high amount of reward in form of millions of dollars and euros paid as ransom.
Until some unsuspecting ship is near a pirate vessel, it looks just like one of other fisherman boats, so that it wouldn’t be attacked (anyone who attacks it will be immediately labeled a “killer of innocent fishermen”). But unarmed commercial ship has very little time to call for help once that “fisherman boat” turns into a mini pirate ship.
Easiest solution: Allow any commercial ship to have weapons. Stationary, or portable, or personal, given to the crew. It’s unacceptable when rights of a bunch of a…les that live by stealing and taking hostages is put higher than the rights of truly innocent ship personnel.
And after that add another rule — if commercial ship decides not to solve the piracy problem by itself (be it weapons, changing of routes so they’d avoid this bad area, force fields, wizard spells, whatever) and then gets attacked by pirates, it will be boarded for the purpose of freeing hostages and killing or capturing the pirates. Sure, boarding party will try to save all hostages, but you know, it’s a mini war zone.
Ta-da! Problem solved.
Those who think that “pirates will be worse and start killing crews from our country on sight” have to remember — at that point, pirate-infested area will be patrolled by a warship. And anything bigger than really small “fishing boat” will be whacked with a really big caliber cannon from that warship (for purposes of retaliation it’d be useful to use a big gun on one of the “homeports” of pirates, but I’m okay with humanitarians allowing them to live).
Yes, a certain amount of casualties will occur. I bet they will be those pirates. Would that bother me? Not really. Problem needs preventative measures in killing off pirates, or freeing ships they have captured.
I mean think about it, what would happen many years ago, if an Empire fleet encountered a pirate ship? “We didn’t kill them because they didn’t have any hostages at the time”? And if they did have hostages “We couldn’t attack them because the hostages could die”? No way. Attack would be swift and immediate. And those, who fell prey to pirates wouldn’t really expect that their now-pirate ship would be spared.
And incentives to be a pirate would suddenly vanish, because instead of a ship armed with water hoses (Russian ship managed to resist pirates for 20 hours with a water cannon) pirate has to deal with an armed ship that will sink them.
Maybe they will pick up another trade. Something that doesn’t involve stealing, ransoms, attacks.